Richard Floyd Keiger

04/02/1929 ~


Richard Floyd Keiger was a “love child,” conceived in a fancy Stevens-Duryea car, by father, Lester Roy Keiger Thompson (1899) and Lenora Estelle Allen (1912). He was born on April 2, 1929 in the Burnett Sanitarium, Fresno, California. When his son, Rick, was born there in 1961 it had become Fresno Community Hospital. Richard was the oldest of five children; next came Mabelle (“Mebs”), John (“Bud”), then Carolyn, and Louise. He boxed to please his father, who said he had the best right straight he’d ever seen, until he was ten when he broke his right elbow in two places. He later won the Golden Gloves in Mexico (Guantes de Oro) by knockout. One of his earliest memories was of his father walking him, age 4, and his sister Mabelle, age 3 to the store at night and upon their return finding two pedal bikes with working headlights under the Christmas tree. They would crash them into each other repeatedly for the amusement of the boy across the street. Richard was grateful his mother taught him to like work, which she called play with a purpose. She would race him and his siblings picking cotton or grapes, saying, “You can quit if you catch up,” which they never could. Richard studied extensively, earned Doctor of Medicine, worked public health in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, served as a volunteer physician to civilians in Vietnam, and worked a career as a psychiatrist for San Diego County. He was a polymath, studied the natural sciences, learned many languages, enjoyed planting pines, redwoods and azaleas. He played piano beautifully, was a chess expert, sailed, wind-surfed, sky-dove, flew a variety of general aviation aircraft and hot air balloons, and delved deeply into his genealogy. He loved Corvettes, watching CNN and sports on TV. He repeatedly tried to make his first marriage work with Nayade Guadalupe Cabrera Perez. Richard flew as a volunteer spotter for law enforcement in Imperial County. For many years he and his second wife, Patricia Jean Shaffer, and their beloved dogs, lived in, and traveled, over a million miles, back and forth across the United State in their RV. They also traveled throughout Europe and Africa, lived in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and finally settled in Haines City, Florida. His final months were under the loving care of his son in Houston, Texas. His most admired philosopher was Amado Nervo: En paz Muy cerca de mi ocaso, yo te bendigo, vida, porque nunca me diste ni esperanza fallida, ni trabajos injustos, ni pena inmerecida; porque veo al final de mi rudo camino que yo fui el arquitecto de mi propio destino; que si extraje las mieles o la hiel de las cosas, fue porque en ellas puse hiel o mieles sabrosas: cuando planté rosales, coseché siempre rosas. …Cierto, a mis lozanías va a seguir el invierno: ¡mas tú no me dijiste que mayo fuese eterno! Hallé sin duda largas las noches de mis penas; mas no me prometiste tan sólo noches buenas; y en cambio tuve algunas santamente serenas… Amé, fui amado, el sol acarició mi faz. ¡Vida, nada me debes! ¡Vida, estamos en paz! He is survived by his wife, his two children, seven grandchildren, a great-grandchild, a nephew, three nieces, and their progeny. His son, Richard Lester John Keiger (Rick), is proud that he was progressive and inclusive, and grateful that he shared his adventurous spirit with him. He instilled in his daughter, Lenora Michelle Chavez, an enthusiasm for fun, and she learned piano to please him.

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2 thoughts on “Richard Floyd Keiger”

  1. Ernest Cabrera

    An amazing individual who accomplished all in his bucket list. May he RIP. His nephew. Dr E. Cabrera II. MD.

  2. Edward Alfonso

    I look forward to our next chess game. Hopefully I’ll show you some improvement by then. 🙂 Thank you for being such a gracious host, when I met you for the first time and your beautiful home in La Jolla.

    I will never forget you.



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